Finding Inspiration In Others

June 9, 2011 8 Comments »

world domination summit

Courtesy of the World Domination Summit

Americans work hard. We work too much, we go too fast.  But as much as other cultures might think, we are not machines and every once in a while we need some inspiration to keep being productive. As a nomadic blogger and entrepreneur, I suppose I could say that I’m one of ‘those’ location independent people. It doesn’t matter where I do my work from – Capetown, Kandy Sri Lanka, Kathmandu, or South Dakota; all I need is an internet connection to get my tasks done. However the downside to that is that you spend a lot of time alone, staring at a screen in an obscure part of the world. When I have a tough day slogging through work, there is normally no one to give me that understanding look, a hug, or offer me a beer. I have to push through any hurdles myself and keep going.

However – this last weekend was different. I spent a weekend in Portland attending Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit. Ok – I know the name may be a bit offputting, but the idea behind it is to get a whole bunch of bright, enthusiastic, driven, entrepreneurs and creative types together to share, cheer each other on, and connect. It wasn’t a self-help conference – it was more of a motivation conference.

Motivation, inspiration, and being surrounded by awesome people and energy is just what this digital nomad needed.

500 excited people rubs off on you!

I can’t say that I learned concrete tasks or knowledge – but I did learn that I could push on, keep following my dreams and have fun doing it. These are things one starts to doubt after you work alone for a while behind a laptop from country to country.

Chris had some great speakers which ranged from big blogging names, to coaches, to inspirational people. Some were really polished, some were really authentic. They got up, told their story, and managed to blow me away. I feverishly wrote notes in my little notebook – little phrases that would keep me going and challenge me when I need them. I wrote down ideas that would make me think and re-look at ways I approach things.

Instead of going into details of each speaker and their presentations – I’ve decided instead to share some of my favorite motivational lines and thoughts I wrote down. These are the comments that resonated with me and maybe a few will resonate with you too. I have no idea what your goals and dreams are, but I’m betting you have a few. Take these little nuggets, read them aloud, slowly, let them sink in and feel the energy they emanate. That’s the energy you need to accomplish your goals and dreams:

  • If you are looking for people to give you permission, you will wait forever – this society won’t give you permission.
  • Following a path of what we think we should do trips us up more often than not.
  • Listen to your compass inside
  • Simplicity is about conquering one thing at a time and you will make progress
  • Reduce commitments and do less.
  • Live without goals. It’s stressful to achieve goals. It takes a lot of time and energy to manage goals. Free yourself of failure when you don’t have goals. When you have the ‘goal mindset’ there is never an end. You always look to the future instead of enjoying the moment.
  • A good traveler has no fixed plans and doesn’t intend on arriving.
  • Find value in wandering around.
  • If you want to accomplish great things then you will have to push through barriers.
  • Everything you bring in your life is a choice. Own your choice.
  • If you are in a place you don’t want to be – realize and accept that you are choosing to be there so fucking love it, and appreciate it instead of beating yourself up and then set a date to get out no matter what.
  • Worst case scenarios will liberate you. – You won’t die. The universe wants you to win.
  • If you want to leave your job/career then it probably means that your values aren’t in line with the company’s
  • Once resentment starts to happen – then get whatever is causing it off your plate immediately.
  • Making comparisons is a colossal waste of time. You are comparing your insides (thoughts and feelings) to their outside. Find inspiration in other people – but don’t compare.
  • Create your own story
  • Adventure occurs when we embrace possibility
  • We don’t age because time passes. We age because we stop looking for the wonderful.
  • More than what we think is possible is possible.
  • The future won’t go according to plan. Life is full of highs and lows. But grieving and choosing to move forward when life deals you a low is all about attitude.
  • A subsistence job is just going to keep you alive and pissed off

I thought many of these were really relevant to my business goal of getting more people to realize the benefits of career breaks and getting out of situations that are sucking the life out of them. Michaela and I were more pumped than ever by the people we met and what we heard. In fact, more then ever we are focused at moving the ideas of career breaks and sabbaticals into the mainstream.
Our goal became crystal clear during our time in Portland.


Career Break
Woohoo! We want ta career break on every resume!

More photos from the wonderful weekend:

Myself, Jodi Ettenberg, and Michaela holding a workshop on Career Breaks


Me and Jason from Minneapolis - a remarkable wine guy!

Speakers mesmerize the audience at WDS

Other career break supporters we met at the conference

World Domination Summit

500 Inspiring People


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